The National Organization of Hotels & Tourism Workers, Pakistan Hotels, Restaurant, Club, Tourism, Catering and Allied Workers’ Federation [PHRCTCAWF] and International Union of Food Workers [IUF] organized a National Conference on 27 September 2022 to mark International Tourism Day.
The following resolution was adopted at the conference. The conference discussed the importance of tourism sector for the growth of economy and employment.
Qamar ul Hassan, South Asia Director of IUF said that tourism sector needs to tackle precarious employment which is an important source of poverty and inequality in both urban and rural areas.
The conditions created by precarious employment puts workers without basic rights including right of association and collective bargaining. Pakistan widely depends upon domestic tourism.
The hotels, restaurants and other services have poor record of legal compliance. Workers deprived of basic rights and adequate training lead to unprofessional attitude and low skill.
It is vital to target recruitment and new hiring, recovery and reopening of tourism industry
Environmentalist Rashida Dohad said the recent heat wave, heavy rain fall and flood have a worst impact on tourism areas in Pakistan. Many properties, roads, bridges and other infrastructure have been destroyed.
The flood was not at once, it was every year experience but governments neither give importance on string infrastructure neither on its impact on workers who lost their livelihood and earnings.
It is vital to promote Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable (RES) Tourism that is environmentally and socially sustainable.
Former Central Labour Advisor Dr. Javed Gill said Health and Safety at workplace is one of the essential elements for the revitalization of tourism industry.
Workers with good health, ensuring social security and with safe and secure workplace can contribute to the tourism business. The fundamental rights at work are deemed essential, safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work.
Prominent Journalist Shahid Ghazali Said that media is one of important element for the promotion of tourism in the country. It is like a mirror which reflect the reality and critism should be dealt for the betterment of the society.
The other who spoke include prominent labour lawyer Sarwer Chandi, Ghulam Mehboob and others.
In Pakistan the tourism sector is one of the most potential economic sectors in terms of employment and small businesses. Unfortunately, the governments did not give the due importance. The infrastructure was not built as it needed and the lack of facilities could not attract the international tourists. The sector mainly depends upon the domestic tourism and need more attention to build tourists’ confidence. After COVID-19 the domestic tourism was started recovering but climate calamity (heat wave, rain fall, flood) have disturbed the tourists inflow. This all impacted the livelihood and hotel and tourism workers badly.
It is noted that hotel and tourism sector in Pakistan does not portray the decent employment. Despite some big hotels, the huge number of small and medium hotels’ workers work under precarious conditions and face several forms of exploitation including lack of awareness of their rights, informal employment arrangements causing insecurity and underpayment, prevalence of child labour and youth in hazardous work (excessive working hours), lack of labour inspection etc. The density of women workers is negligible while many small hotels hire underage workers.
The National Conference on Tourism in Pakistan understands that sustainable and responsible tourism could be achieve only with improved working conditions, ensuring living wage system, implementation of labour laws, improving the health and safety measures and a comprehensive social security for all workers involved in the sector.
The Conference call upon the government
• To address all kind of exploitation of workers in tourism sector
• To ensure that workers have their basic right to be represented by the unions of their choice and exercise the right to bargain collectively
• To provide comprehensive social security so the livelihood of workers should not the compromise due to any reason including the disaster from any pandemic or climate catastrophe
• To ensure safe workplace, protect workers health and safety and effective measures to deal with sexual harassment
• To provide workers the opportunity of training for better services and skill enhancement for dealing with new technology and automation
• To promote and support adventure and heritage tourism
• The growth and jobs are so important in the recovery and growth of the tourism sector
The conference invite unions and affiliates
• To campaign for a better work environment, implementation of labour laws
• To make strategies to organize workers, form trade unions and train them for collective bargaining
• To lobby with government to provide social safety net in tourism sector
• To build union power to get sustainable and responsible tourism in Pakistan